If anyone had told Ross Allen and Maurine Neilson when they married in the Salt Lake Temple on Sept. 20, 1949, that they would both survive and still be relatively sane enough to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary, they would have laughed and said, ”lmpossibe!” But life sometimes has a way of turning impossibilities into reality, and that is why they are inviting friends and family to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with them on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, from 2-5 p.m. at the Hillcrest LDS Meetinghouse, 875 N. 1500 East.
Ross and Maurine met at Granite High School and courted by correspondence after he was drafted into the Army Air Force and began serving in the occupation forces in Japan after graduation. After completing his military obligation, they were married, and one week later he began his freshman year at the University of Utah.
Twelve years later, they had six children, he had a Ph.D. in Education and they were living in Laie, Hawaii, where Ross was teaching at Church College of Hawaii (now BYU Hawaii). After traveling extensively throughout the South Pacific for research on his Ph.D. dissertation, Ross decided to travel in a different direction and took a sabbatical leave to England, where Ross and Maurine and their six children lived for a year in 1963-64. They traveled on the Continent before returning to Hawaii, and in 1966 they moved to Logan, where Ross became a professor in the Secondary Education Department at USU.
Always open to new travel experiences, Ross accepted a Fullbright Lectureship in Vientiane, Laos, from 1974-75. He and Maurine took their three youngest children, traveling one direction around the world to get to Laos and returning the other, completing their trip around the world, despite the fact that their time in Laos came to an abrupt, somewhat hair-raising, and ear|ier-than-expected end because of the communist takeover of that country. However, that experience did not dampen their desire for more travel experiences, and in 1985-86, Ross took another sabbatical leave to Nagoya, Japan International School, this time with their oldest grandchild in tow. In 1989-90, both Ross and Maurine taught English at a university in Dalian, China, and upon retirement from USU, Ross worked at Shokei Women’s College in Kumamoto, Japan, from 1992-94. In 1997-99 Ross and Maurine returned to their beloved Hawaii, serving a mission at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie.
A recounting of all of their travels may seem exhausting, but consider that through it all they served diligently in many callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, reared six children (Raquel DeJean, Connie (Chad) Skidmore, Kim (Jim) Robinson, Ross Jr. (Tana), Trent (Michelle), and Heather (Scott) Knowles), informally ”adopted” many more from all over the world, acquired 26 grandchildren and 39 great grandchildren, took numerous tours and trips to Hawaii (and even house sat there every winter from 2000-2007), and played tennis together wherever they found themselves! Sound impossible? It’s reality!